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  • Wast Hills is 'Outstanding'

    Wast Hills Outstanding StarWe are absolutely delighted to announce that Wast Hills Hospital in Kings Norton, Birmingham has been rated by the Care Quality Commission as ‘Outstanding’.

    Wast Hills is one of only a very small percentage of care services which have received the ultimate accolade from the regulator.

    Wast Hills is an independent hospital providing specialist support and services for adults on the autistic spectrum with associated complex needs.

    The inspectors noted significant areas of outstanding practice throughout the service, rating Wast Hills as overall Outstanding. The inspectors noted that to; ‘promote patients’ wellbeing, staff used positive behaviour support to effectively understand, anticipate and meet patients’ needs.’They additionally noted that ‘staff treated patients with kindness, dignity and respect’.

    Our own model of care was also praised and the report stated that ‘Staff followed a model of care called ‘Personal PATHS’ that was developed by the Danshell Group. PATHS supported patients across five areas; positive behaviour support, appreciative enquiry for staff, patients and carers to reflect, to achieve therapeutic outcomes, promote healthy lifestyles, and provide safe services’.

    Further positive comment from the inspector recorded that ‘External professionals praised Wast Hills for their quality multidisciplinary and inter-agency working practices. They were highly positive about the progress their patients made at Wast Hills, noting significant reductions in self-harm behaviours, incidents and observation levels’.

    The report also observed that ‘The company invested in, and was responsive to the needs of staff. As a result, staff morale was very good. Managers listened to their staff and provided them with additional resources when they needed them’. The inspectors additionally noted that ‘the company had agreed funding to “over fill” nursing vacancies so the unit would not be short staffed when patient numbers grew’.

    In addition to the excellent care and support given at the hospital, the CQC report highlighted that ‘Wast Hills staff delivered free training and education to community facilities such as hotels and leisure services where patients enjoyed activities. They did this to raise awareness, share best practice and improve access for people with autism’.

    Wast Hills has also been recognisedat the National Autistic Society’s Professional Awards 2017 and last year received the ‘Great Autism Practice Award’ at the prestigious National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards.

    Mel Ramsey

    Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive Officer, said: “This is a fantastic achievement, which is great credit to every member of staff at Wast Hills and the wider Danshell team. Our incredible rating is down to the care and support our staff provide every single day and their willingness to always go the extra mile.

    “I am absolutely thrilled that everyone’s hard work has been rewarded, the comments from the inspector are heart-warming, and I am so very proud to be working with such a fantastic team of people who are making such a positive difference to the lives of the people we support.”

    Click here to read the full report on the CQC website

  • Two New Learning Disability Services Open in Dundee

    Thistle Care Home

    Following a comprehensive review of our existing provision, and in partnership with commissioners, a decision was taken to develop a care pathway with more bespoke care and support options being made available.

    Thistle Care Home with Nursing offers a four bed service, Lomond, specifically for people with Autistic Spectrum Conditions and a separate unit for up to six adults living with a learning disability and complex needs. The focus is on ensuring that the people supported are part of the local community and can access education, employment and meaningful activities to meet their needs.

    Wallace Hospital is also split into two separate areas. There are seven bedrooms for those individuals with a learning disability, complex needs and behaviours that can be perceived as challenging. There is also an additional three enhanced suites delivering 24 hour care and support within a structured and therapeutic environment.

    The new service configuration, based at the former Monroe House, which has undergone significant investment, will enable people to have increased choice and independence, enabling them to progress along their care pathway, living their lives as they would wish to.

    Wallace Thistle Collage

    Ashley Fraser-Green, Service Manager, said: “The two services will work together to provide a care pathway for service users to support them to lead as independent and fulfilling lives as possible.

    Wallace Hospital

    “We are committed to supporting people in a manner that enables them to do the things that most of us take for granted, such as spending time with family and friends, having something worthwhile to do during the day, learning new skills and feeling included and valued in their own community.”

    Mel Ramsey, Chief Executive said: “These fantastic new services will play a significant role in providing true person centred support for people living with learning disabilities and autism.

    “We will carry on listening to all our stakeholders as we design new services, but most importantly, to the people who use our services, and their families, to ensure they have the support they need to speak up and participate in shaping services.”

    Click here to see more about Thistle Care Home

    Click here to see more about Wallace Hospital

  • Cedar Vale Has Major Refurbishment

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    Cedar Vale hospital in East Bridgford, near Nottingham has been undergoing redevelopment over the last few months, and now the work is complete, we’d like to tell you about everything that’s been going on.

    Promoting an individual’s independence is very important at Cedar Vale. The aim of the refurbishment and reconfiguration was to further enable the service team to support people to develop independent living skills by creating three separate care pathways within the hospital.

    The hospital has been re-developed into a five bed, six bed and a three bed bespoke service, each aimed at giving individuals an environment that will support them for moving on to more independent living. People will be able to build on their self-care and daily living skills at the new skills kitchens, where they can plan and cook meals for themselves and their visitors.

    Cedar Vale Collage New

    New lounge and dining areas have been created to provide a personalised dining experience and more opportunities for service users to socialise. Service users are also now also benefitting from an upgraded and expanded sensory area.

    The management team developed a site plan for each phase of the work to ensure that the impact of the work on service users was as minimal as possible.


    Carole Guy, Service Manager at Cedar Vale, said: “Everything we do is aimed at enabling individuals to lead as independent and fulfilling lives as possible and a great deal of thought and planning has gone into the reconfiguration at Cedar Vale.

    “We all worked hard to ensure the fantastic refurbishment went smoothly and we
    are delighted to soon be sharing the new look of Cedar Vale with service users, their families, staff and commissioners.”

    Mel Ramsey has said of the new look, “We recognised that Cedar Vale needed refurbishment and re-development and took the opportunity to develop the service into three smaller pathways, enabling the people who use the service to develop their independent living skills. I have been to see the refurbished service and I am confident that we have created something very special for the people who use the service.”

    Click here to see more about Cedar Vale

  • More Award Success for Wast Hills Autism Service

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    Wast Hills Hospital in Kings Norton, Birmingham has been recognised for its excellence at the national Autism Professional Awards.

    The hospital has been shortlisted in the Outstanding Adult Services category. The judges focused on four areas; innovation, creativity, impact and sustainability, highlighting services that have made quantifiable benefits to the lives of the people they support.

    The Autism Professionals Awards, part of the National Autistic Society, have been created to recognise and reward services and professionals who are leading the way in innovative autism practice and making a real difference to the lives of autistic people in the UK.
    The Awards seek to acknowledge the outstanding contributions and achievements of individuals, teams and organisations who have demonstrated excellence, dedication and commitment to improving the lives of people with autism.
    The winners will be announced at a ceremony on 7th March in Harrogate.

    This is the latest accolade for Wast Hills, which received the ‘Great Autism Practice Award’ at the prestigious 2016 National Learning Disabilities and Autism Awards.

    Sharena Record, Director of Operations Midlands for Danshell, said: “I am incredibly proud of the team at Wast Hills. They are doing great things every single day to improve the lives of the people we support and I am delighted that their hard work and dedication has been recognised yet again.”

    Mel Ramsey, Chief Executive Officer at Danshell, said: “This is extremely well-deserved by the wonderful team at Wast Hills who are making such a positive difference to the lives of the people we support. A huge well done to each and every one of them, we are all so very proud of their achievement.”

    Click here to see more about Wast Hills

  • Newbus Grange Raises Over £5000 for Charity

    Newbus Charity   

    Service users and staff at Newbus Grange, one of our services near Darlington, have shown their charitable spirit and raised more than £5,000 for good causes during 2016.

    Hazel Southern, service manager at Newbus Grange, kick-started the fundraising when she bravely had her hair cut to donate to The Little Princess Trust, a charity that provides real hair wigs to children who have lost their own hair during cancer treatment. Colleagues supported her by making donations to support the charity’s work.

    Sarah Llewellyn, a support worker at Newbus Grange, was so moved by the story of Hartlepool youngster Bradley Lowery, who has touched the hearts of the nation with his cancer battle and ‘bucket list’ of wishes, including breaking the world record for the number of Christmas cards received, she organised a fundraiser for his appeal.

    Another great initiative saw staff at Newbus Grange, who were keen to help people who faced spending Christmas alone, donate the money they would have spent on Christmas cards for each other to Darlington Town Mission, a local charity aimed at enriching the lives of elderly people.

    While in the Christmas spirit, the team also collected gifts to pack into shoeboxes for Operation Christmas Child, run by the Samaritan’s Purse. You can see how full they were in the image above!

    Dogs Trust was another charity to benefit when staff members rallied together to raise funds to buy dog food for the Darlington shelter.

    Many other fundraising events took place throughout the year to enable the hospital to make a real difference to good causes across the region.

    Newbus Grange is an independent hospital providing specialist assessment and rehabilitation for men on the autistic spectrum with associated complex needs.

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    Hazel Southern, service manager at Newbus Grange said: “I’m very proud of the team here at Newbus Grange; they never let me down when it comes to supporting good causes and have some great ideas.

    We had everything from sponsored runs, raffles, a garden party and cake sales. We even had a dress down day for National Fish and Chip day, we basically used any excuse to fundraise!

    “There is a more serious side to it though and it is important that staff and service users are an integral part of the local community. This is a key part of that philosophy.”

    Click here to see more about Newbus Grange

  • Fighting Fit at Toller Road

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    Toller Road has been working on a new initiative to get service users more active and improve their overall wellbeing and fitness. This initiative has been led by Activity Co-ordinator, Penny Watson.

    They have been working with Adam Chambers, a fully qualified personal trainer and advanced instructor who owns Primal Fitness in Melton Mowbray. Adam has created individual sessions pitched at the right level and ability for the service users at Toller Road, with the emphasis on getting fit whilst having lots of fun.

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    Everyone looks forward to these weekly sessions and they are already beginning to see health benefits. The team at Toller Road are hoping to build upon this success by getting service users involved in local parkrun events. Cate Ball, Service Manager at Toller Road, regularly volunteers at the parkrun event in Melton Mowbray and some of the service users from Toller Road will be joining her on 17th December 2016. The team all recognise the importance of healthy living, and other initiatives are currently being worked upon.

    Well done to everyone at Toller Road for getting involved in such a fab fitness scheme! What a great start to build on!

    Click here to see more about Toller Road

  • Healthy Living at Ranaich House

    Ranaich House are in the process of applying for The Healthy Living Award. This award is given to Scottish organisations that are committed to ensuring that their catering facilities meet the following targets:

    • Keep the level of fat and oil to a minimum
    • Keep the level of salt in food to a minimum
    • Keep the level of sugar in food to a minimum
    • Make fruit and vegetables clearly available
    • Make starchy food the main part of most meals
    • Support healthier eating through promotion
    • Ensure at least 50% of the food meets the criteria

    It hasn’t always been this way; when Margaret (Service Manager) and Dawn (Chef) were appointed in 2015, they noticed that a lot of the food offered to service users had been deep fried. Margaret commented, “We worked together to plan out how we could still offer tasty foods but without deep frying. We started using Spray-Lite to either bake or grill instead of frying. As it happened, no one noticed the difference!

    “As this was such a huge success, we decided that the deep fat fryer was no longer needed and we got it taken away completely. Now we don’t have the opportunity to deep fry at all and no-one has missed it. In actual fact we receive positive comments not only from the service users, but recently a neighbour has commented that he could tell when dinner was being prepared because of the delicious smells coming from our kitchen…


    “When we heard about the Green Apple Awards/Healthy Living Awards, we thought that as we had already made a real start, let’s try and get formal recognition for it!”

    The people at Ranaich House are going to be making a trip to visit a local fish market, a butchers and their usual fruit and veg shop. They will then be holding a tasting session for staff and service users to try some new healthy food that they may not have had the opportunity to try before.

    In addition to this, the staff are creating games and competitions based on the healthy living topic, ensuring that service users are involved in meal preparation, comparing the amount of sugar that is in a selection of fizzy drinks and looking at the amount of fat that is in a selection of popular snack foods.

    Good luck to everyone with the award and we look forward to seeing pictures of your efforts.

    Click here to see more about Ranaich House

  • Whorlton Hall Learning for Life

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    In November a new letter writing course began at Whorlton Hall. The course is being run in conjunction with Darlington Borough Council’s Learning and Skills Service, Learning for Life. The course tutor, Grainne, has a great deal of experience in teaching life skills to people with learning disabilities and is looking forward to working with Danielle, David and Andrew over the length of the course.

    Andrew said, “I like this, I can write to Grandad.” David and Danielle are also going to write to family members. Danielle and Andrew have written letters in the past to family members, but this is something new for David, who is looking forward to writing to his brother. Everyone agreed that it’s nice to receive a proper letter from someone we care about.

    The course will be running for 5 weeks, following which they are starting a Christmas Crafts course, again with Learning for Life.

    04 Whorlton Interview Prep Edit   

    Interview Practice
    In November, Andrew and Christopher also took part in a mock interview to prepare for interviewing new staff. Andrew and Christopher were supported by Audrey and Caitlin, who helped them to choose and ask questions using the booklet ‘Recruiting Staff Support Workers’.

    To make the exercise ‘real’, they recruited Simon Bell from Governance to be the person being interviewed. Andrew and Christopher found this very worthwhile and look forward to carrying out interviews “for real” in the future.

    Click here to see more about Whorlton Hall

    Click here to read more about the Learning and Skills Service at Darlington Borough Council

  • Raymond Shows His Artistic Skill

    Raymond at Thors Park would like to show you his artistic talent, with a picture he painted that he is very proud of. He has a creative flair with a strong imagination, and is being supported to maintain and build on these skills using the variety of resources and seasonal opportunities available. Some of these he has particularly enjoyed were creating a picture of a witch for Halloween, and more recently some great paintings and a banner for Christmas.

    He has also created some wonderful seasonal pictures using paints, wood and textures, using all of the resources Thors Park has to offer. Below is a picture of Raymond with a painting he particularly enjoyed creating, which shows a garden scene with lots of birds and some amazingly intricate detail.

        03 Raymond Painting Oct 16

    Raymond moved to Thors Park in August 2016, and was asked about his experience of moving. We are happy to hear that since he has been there, “boredom has never come into it.”

    He is busy all the time and says he is “very happy at Thors Park.”

    He loves meeting new people and was really pleased to attend LD Today, the biggest learning disability conference, in London a few weeks ago to support our team exhibiting there. He was particularly pleased to see how many free pens were being given out, and stocked up his art materials supply considerably! Raymond enjoys getting involved in the regional forums, and has even stood up and presented there on behalf of Thors Park service users.

    We’re glad Raymond is happy at Thors Park and are looking forward to seeing more of his beautiful paintings.

    Click here to see more about Thors Park

  • Service Users’ Designs Adorn Danshell Christmas Card

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    One of our service users from a service in Bishop Auckland has proved his artistic merit by winning our company-wide Christmas art project.

    The Christmas card competition was launched to encourage service users to feel involved in the company and to produce a design for our corporate card for Christmas 2016.

    The winning design, chosen from more than 130 entries from across the UK, depicts a snowy scene featuring reindeer, a snowman and Father Christmas. The festive creation was designed by Shane, who lives in one of our North East services.

    The result was very close, with a gentleman at Bostall House in Abbey Wood London coming in 2nd place, and two people sharing 3rd place from Dundee and Darlington. Their designs will also be turned into our corporate Christmas cards, giving a choice of designs.

    Service users from across the country were invited to take part in the judging day. All the staff at our York Office also got involved in the judging process, including Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive and Clynt Hall, our Finance Director. Everyone enjoyed themselves and got into the festive spirit enjoying the buffet, Christmas music and games.

        1st Place

    Mel said: “The voting day for our Christmas card competition was just incredible, I was absolutely overwhelmed by the number of cards we received. The Christmas card competition is a way of recognising the creative talents of the people we support, and it certainly did just that.

    “The standard of entries was exceptionally high and it was not easy to choose between the pieces of art work. However, Shane’s fantastic design received the most votes and everyone was absolutely delighted for him.

    We cannot forget to also congratulate our 2nd and joint 3rd entry winners, and indeed every one of the 130 cards we received. It really is starting to feel a lot like Christmas now.”

    Christmas Card Collage Web

  • Updates from Our South East Services

    Services in South East England recently held their regional forum at Wick Lodge in Clacton-on-Sea. Service users from across all sites in the South East presented to the members attending. One person was supported by a family member who attends the family forum. Advocates attended the event, along with Melinda Glover, Director of Operations for the South East region. Everyone was very pleased to see Melinda, and she was very supportive and encouraging. The forum went very well and a variety of ideas came about from it.

    Service users discussed activities they enjoy, as well as those they would like to do. Some of these have now started at the services interested:

    • Thors Park have started clay and woodwork sessions, which are going very well with lots of people taking part. Yew Treeshave been running clay sessions for a while and have been experimenting with a potter’s wheel. They have made some wonderful things and the ladies are so very proud of their work.
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    • Service users and staff continue to explore community resources. Access to the new private pool resource is going well for individuals at Thors Park. The pool is beautiful, as you can see, and allows up to 10 people to use it at any time. It is solely for the use of Thors Park during their session, so everyone feels safe and supported to use this valuable resource. Use of the pool is also being explored for Yew Trees, so hopefully it won’t be too long before the ladies are able to take a splash themselves. This would form a graded approach for some before stepping into a public pool.
    • Football with Healthy4Life at the local leisure centre on Thursdays continues on a weekly basis, which is going really well for our ladies at Ducks Haltand Yew Trees. The Rock It club in Thorpe is also a great community resource which ladies from both services frequently attend.

    Service users decided to have a Christmas party for the region, which will be held on December 8th. Everyone has been working hard to prepare for the party; all the service users are involved in coming up with party games to play, with all sites playing a part in the organising. Some of the activities planned so far are; pin the nose on Rudolph, a Treasure Hunt, a quiet corner for colouring, musical statues, a best Christmas hat competition and Christmas Pictionary.

    There will also be a DJ, a snow machine and a photobooth where people can take pictures with the snow machine and fun Christmas-themed props like hats, glasses and beards. They can then use these photos to make Christmas cards for their family that are truly personalised, original and creative. Service users and staff alike are looking forward to the party!

    Damien from The Orchards presented at the recent forum on what he has been enjoying recently, talking about how much he loves to cook. From this a Bake Off competition was set into action, with the judging taking place at the Christmas party. Good luck to everyone taking part!

    The regional forum also discussed their roles for each forum and how they can promote greater service user involvement. Everyone will have the opportunity to apply for a role at the next regional forum in March, with a vote taking place to democratically elect each position. Until that time, the roles will be conducted by service users at each service in a shared manner; Old Leigh House will be the organisers; Thors Park will be the Chair; Ducks Halt will arrange events and activities; Bostall House will be in charge of ‘Meet and Greet’; Yew Trees will take the minutes; and The Orchards will organise invites and publications.

  • Danshell Attends Learning Disability Today 2016

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    Danshell staff and service users attended Learning Disability Today 2016 at the end of last month, aiming to promote our services and meet likeminded people within the industry. It was also a great opportunity for service users to do something different, visit a new place and take part in some fun activities.

    Learning Disability Today is the country’s largest inclusive event for people with learning disabilities and hosted a range of activities, talks and seminars. The programme of the day focused on topics that are important to people with learning disabilities, their carers and the professionals who support them. Everyone from across the learning disability community was represented – commissioners, policy makers, charities, providers, family carers, support workers, and most importantly, people with learning disabilities. Attendees could also peruse the many stands with providers and charities that support people with learning disabilities to live full lives as independently as possible.

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    The hall was full of people all day and we were very grateful of the help provided by service users and staff at some of our South East services, who came and assisted on the Danshell stand. The ladies and gentlemen really enjoyed the day, particularly when they were talking to people as they stood at the stand. A gentlemen from one of our services in Essex attended some of the talks and found them interesting. As an avid artist, he also took a particular liking to the free pens that were being handed out!

    Another young man had fun chatting to everyone and particularly liked the chocolates being handed out at most of the stands. He also took part in an activity at a stand where they were lobbying the government to make changes. Helped by Suzy Wood, Occupational Therapist in the South East, he wrote a card with suggestions, and hung it on a tree set up to collect the ideas.

    Suzy said of the day, “I really enjoyed the day, especially spending time with the service users, having our photos taken and meeting other providers.”

    Thank you to our service users and staff that came and helped out on the stand. We’re glad you had a good time!

  • Update from Bostall House

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    Bostall House has been busy over the last few months! In October they celebrated Denis’ birthday with a party, which his family all came to. Staff decorated the dining room with birthday banners and bunting. The chef cooked a delicious spread and Denis had a black forest gateaux for his birthday cake. Denis was overwhelmed with the celebrations and thanked everyone. Robert also gave a wonderful speech, which he had been practicing throughout the morning. Everyone agreed it was a great celebration, and they all enjoyed tucking into the party food and helping Denis have a very happy birthday!

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    After Denis’ party, Bostall House continued to celebrate with a Halloween Party. The activities room was decorated in spider webs, bunting and scary signs. Everyone joined in with a treasure hunt throughout the house and garden. The best costume prize was presented to Robert, who came dressed as a spooky skeleton in a suit. Well done Robert!

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    Joseph has been practicing for the ‘Bake Off’ competition. He made some tasty fairy cakes, which he decorated by piping on chocolate butter icing. Joseph was very careful and meticulous, and has said he enjoyed the baking.

    Recently Bostall House has been taking part in the Christmas card competition, having fun with the stickers, stencils and other stationery on offer in the activity room. Everyone had good ideas and were eager to show their enthusiasm. They are looking forward to finding out who the winner will be!

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    There have been lots of other activities at Bostall House over the last month, including; service users coming up with lots of new recipes for delicious, nutritious meals; everyone helping to replant the front garden with winter flowers to add colour during the colder months; Ryan and Rayne have completed their Tree of Life projects, creating beautiful artworks to tell people who they are and what is important to them.

    Click here to see more about Bostall House

  • Spooky Halloween Fun Across the Country

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    Services across the country have had a fun Halloween, holding parties with spooky crafts and tasty cakes!

    Our North East services held a Halloween party at ASE club in Darlington. Everyone got involved and into the spooky spirit, dressing up and bringing party food. They held a 'best dressed' competition, which was won by Catherine (left), a lady from one of our North East services, who had a brilliant pirate costume.

    Johnathan Whitwell, Danshell's Sports Coordinator in the North East, said, "Everyone looked great! It was difficult to pick the winner but Catherine made a fantastic pirate and a brilliant effort. Everyone appeared to enjoy the afternoon, with the disco and food."

    NE Halloween 2016


        Hollyhurst Halloween 2016 2

    Hollyhurst also held their own Halloween party, with fun activities including carving pumpkins. Staff had arranged for Zoo Lab to come and bring their creepy crawlies, which really fitted in with the theme of the day. Lee, Hollyhurst DJ, put a spectacular disco on in the evening for Halloween. It was extra special as it was his 45th birthday too. Happy Birthday Lee, looks like you had everyone partying!

    Hollyhurst Halloween 2016



    Willow House held their own party, with amazing costumes and fab face paint! Everyone joined in the fun decorating the house and having fun with party games.


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    The ladies at Ducks Halt have also been having fun this Halloween with Chantel, the Activity Coordinator! They have been shopping for decorations, and got creative decorating all of Ducks Halt. There have been specific Halloween arts and crafts sessions, where they have created some beautiful pictures to put on the walls. You can see their Halloween themed paintings below. They have also been baking some delicious spooky cakes whilst listening to Halloween music.

    The ladies went and picked their own pumpkins and carved them together on Halloween evening. They then had a face-painting session and got all dressed up before heading out to a party at the Rock it Club, dancing all night and enjoying a spooky-themed buffet.

    Service users at Whorlton Hall also got into the swing of things with a Halloween themed buffet and music at their party on Monday. Christopher said, “It was great, love parties.” Danielle loved the party and is looking forward to another one at Christmas, saying “This time all the staff can get dressed up as well!” When Claire was asked if she enjoyed the party, the answer was a resounding “Yeeeeaaahhh!”

    Whorlton Hall Halloween 2016 Collage

    Thank you to everyone who sent through these fab pictures – we’ve loved seeing them and hope you do too!

  • Fantastic Family Evening at Toller Road

    Old Earl 1   

    On the 19th October, Old Earl Redston Hall opened its doors for the first time for service to a selected guest list.

    The team at Toller Road were looking for ways to engage further with family members. During his appraisal, Guy Churchill, Chef at Toller Road, came up with the idea of transforming the dining room in the service into a fabulous restaurant.

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    So the whole team set about making this happen, devising a menu, inviting family members, transforming the dining area with flowers, candles, low lighting and soft music, and they even gave the restaurant its own name, Old Earl Redston Hall, which is an anagram of Danshell Toller Road!

    Families were invited to join the staff and service users for a welcome drink at 6pm with dinner being served at 6.30pm.  There was a delicious three course meal plus cheese and biscuits served.  Guy and Kitchen Assistant Zoe worked extremely hard to deliver this fine cuisine.

    The evening went without a hitch and all the guests went away extremely happy, with some of the family members being given the flower table arrangements to take home with them.

    Positive comments have been received from a number of people including Marie Greenberry, our Director of Nursing and Governance who was able to attend the evening.

    She commented,

    “It was a great evening for all who attended; Cate and her team really did a fantastic job. They are a credit to Danshell.”

    Mr and Mrs Reid, whose son lives at Toller Road, sent a message to Cate, the Manager, saying,

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    “Just the most amazing evening. Congratulations to all the staff and residents for making it a magical evening.  The food that Guy produced was fab, in particular he was able to get around my dietary restrictions and come up with a really tasty meal.

    As the Manager at Toller Road, you are clearly making a difference to the shared experiences of residents and their families.  Your ability to come up with and take on board other people’s ideas has certainly outshone our memories of previous managers’ performances.

    P.S  Bring on the 2017 Sunday carvery . . . !!!”

    Well done to Cate, Guy and the whole team at Toller Road.

    Old Earl Collage

  • Hope House turns pink to support cancer charity

    Hope House Team   

    Service users and staff at Hope House and Hope Lodge in Hartlepool raised more than £150 for Breast Cancer Now at a special Pink-themed party.

    Featuring painted pottery, delicious cakes and a fundraising raffle and tombola and attended by the Mayor of Hartlepool, Cllr Rob Cook, the day was organised by service users to raise awareness of breast cancer ahead of Wear it Pink Day.

    Diane Chisholm, Hope House Manager, said: “It was a lovely day for everyone who attended and our service users did a fantastic job, supported by our staff, in arranging everything.

    “Sadly cancer touches the lives of many people so I am delighted that we have been able to make this donation to help the vital work of the charity.”

    Cllr Cook said: “I would like to thank everyone at Hope House for the kind invitation and to be given the opportunity to support their excellent fundraising efforts.

    “The party was great fun and I would like to congratulate all involved in raising this much-needed sum of money which will help to pay for vital research into breast cancer.”

    Hope House in Hartlepool is a residentialcare home with nursing which delivers 24 hour care and support for up to 6 people in self-contained bespoke apartments adapted to meet their individual needs.

    Hope Lodge, which opened earlier this year complements the Hope House service, and offers similar accommodation for five adults, with the addition of a communal area to enable service users to socialise and interact.

  • Welcome to Dr Jane McCarthy

    Jane McCarthy   

    We are pleased to tell you that we have recently appointed Dr Jane McCarthy as our new Medical Director.

    Dr McCarthy brings with her more than 20 years’ of experience as a Consultant Psychiatrist working with people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, across a number of care providers. These include community, in-patient and secure services.       

    She oversaw the successful discharge of complex patients who had previously spent many years within secure hospital services, having improved the annual rate of discharge to over 50%, in keeping with national policy.

    This was achieved by delivering effective collaboration with local agencies, community based services and commissioners. By working together with all members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team, it significantly improved clinical outcomes and delivered a very positive experience for people and their families.

    Dr McCarthy said: “To join the Danshell team as the Medical Director is a very exciting opportunity for me. This is a key role in a forward thinking organisation providing excellent care and support for people with learning disabilities and autism.

    “One of my key responsibilities as a clinical leader is to ensure the continuing delivery of the highest standards of care. The challenge for me is to support the growth of Danshell while ensuring we continue to build on our commitment to deliver first class care.

    “The reason I chose to work with the team at Danshell is to be a strong influence in an organisation committed to delivering the very best in care for people with learning disabilities and autism.”

    Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive Officer, said:  “I’m delighted to welcome Dr McCarthy to our senior management team. She is an experienced Medical Director, has an excellent record and brings with her a wealth of experience. She will further strengthen our management team as we move into the next phase of our Quality Assurance and improved Governance strategy. She will play a key role in supporting our services on our journey of continuous improvement.”


    We are pleased to tell you that we have recently appointed Dr Jane McCarthy as our new Medical Director.


    Dr McCarthy brings with her more than 20 years’ of experience as a Consultant Psychiatrist working with people with learning disabilities and autism spectrum disorders, across a number of care providers. These include community, in-patient and secure services.      



    She oversaw the successful discharge of complex patients who had previously spent many years within secure hospital services, having improved the annual rate of discharge to over 50%, in keeping with national policy.


    This was achieved by delivering effective collaboration with local agencies, community based services and commissioners. By working together with all members of the Multi-Disciplinary Team, it significantly improved clinical outcomes and delivered a very positive experience for people and their families.


    Dr McCarthy said: “To join the Danshell team as the Medical Director is a very exciting opportunity for me. This is a key role in a forward thinking organisation providing excellent care and support for people with learning disabilities and autism.


    “One of my key responsibilities as a clinical leader is to ensure the continuing delivery of the highest standards of care. The challenge for me is to support the growth of Danshell while ensuring we continue to build on our commitment to deliver first class care.


    “The reason I chose to work with the team at Danshell is to be a strong influence in an organisation committed to delivering the very best in care for people with learning disabilities and autism.”


    Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive Officer, said:  “I’m delighted to welcome Dr McCarthy to our senior management team. She is an experienced Medical Director, has an excellent record and brings with her a wealth of experience. She will further strengthen our management team as we move into the next phase of our Quality Assurance and improved Governance strategy. She will play a key role in supporting our services on our journey of continuous improvement.”
  • Danshell Welcomes a New Finance Director


    We are delighted to announce that we have appointed a new Finance Director, Clynt Hall.

    A qualified accountant, Clynt has extensive experience in senior finance roles within the healthcare sector, having previously worked for another care provider, which at the time operated around 300 care homes and cared for more 18,000 residents. Prior to that, Clynt has worked for a number of other successful multi-site businesses.

    Clynt said: “I am delighted to have joined the team at Danshell, a forward-thinking and innovative company with an inspirational purpose and an exceptional senior management team in place.

    “I am fully committed to playing a significant role in cementing Danshell’s place as a leading provider of care services for people living with a learning disability, autism and complex needs.”

    Mel Ramsey, our Chief Executive Officer said, "Clynt is a valuable addition to our senior management team. He has considerable experience leading finance teams and supporting businesses to continue to improve performance.

    "Delivery of a sustainable high quality business is pivotal in delivering our corporate strategy. Clynt's experience and expertise will support the company as it grows to enable more service users to achieve positive outcomes."

  • Whorlton Hall’s Activity Hub is Now Open!

    Activity Hub11   

    Whorlton Hall’s Activity Coordinators, Jamie Oliver and Audrey Jones, have been hard at work creating a brand new ‘Activity Hub’ that had its grand opening at the end of August.

    Whorlton Hall is our independent hospital in the North East, located in a picturesque village near to Barnard Castle, County Durham. The team at Whorlton Hall supports individuals living with a learning disability and ensure they live full and active lives.

    There was much excitement from both service users and staff with the announcement of the new Activity Hub and a full schedule was planned for its first week in action.

    Service users now have the opportunity to get involved in even more activities, from morning to evening, which has gone down very well. There are various groups that service users can take part in, such as morning drinks and chat over the daily papers, IT sessions to boost computer skills, and technical projects. They have also planned some fun evening events, with a bingo night and photography night already held in the opening week.




    Audrey Jones, one of Whorlton’s Activity Coordinators, said, “We are proud that all service users are supported to create their own personal weekly activity programme. We work hard with service users, their families and those closest to them to find out what is important to them and what their hopes and dreams for the future are. These plans from service users at Whorlton Hall determine which activities will be put on for the week in the Activity Hub.” This is part of our commitment to use every opportunity we can to act on the views of those we support and those who know and care about them best.

       Activity Hub10

    Jamie Oliver, Whorlton’s second Activity Coordinator, said, “An indoor activities centre is a great way to keep up the amount of activities service users can participate in as we head towards the cooler, wetter months.”

    You can see from their smiles how much the new centre for activities is enjoyed by all the service users – it’s lovely to see everyone so involved and having fun! Thank you to Audrey, Jamie and all the staff at Whorlton Hall for all your hard work. We’re glad the first few weeks have been such a great success and hope the Activity Hub will continue to be enjoyed by all.

  • Me and My Support Group

    Every so often in our services, the key worker groups change due to new staff joining and others leaving. Instead of staff deciding which person should be the key worker for each service user, they hand it over to the service users.

    Staff complete one page profiles, filling in information about their interests, hobbies, personal qualities and experience. These are refreshed annually to ensure they stay up to date. Each service user is shown pictures of all the staff members along with their one page profiles. They then choose who they want to be their key worker, taking into consideration their shared interests, and the staff members’ personal skills, experience and attributes to meet their individual needs. This process promotes independence and enables service users to have more personal choice over their lives.

    Earlier this month, service users at Hollyhurst, one of our residential care homes with nursing in the North East, had the choice of picking out three staff members to be their new key workers. Catherine, Martin and Stephen took up this opportunity and were happy to be given the option to decide for themselves.

    Staff at Hollyhurst then take pictures and put them on the wall to show their choice. These three individuals wanted to show you their choices.

    Hollyhurst Keyworker Collage

    By using this approach, Hollyhurst follows the Appreciative Inquiry methodology that we use to support our strength based approaches. Central to this is directly involving every service user in the design and development of their personalised service. By involving everyone in the process, a better model of care has been developed, drawing on the strengths and personal preferences of all service users and staff.

    We will continue to support staff at Hollyhurst with processes such as this, so that they continue to deliver high-quality care and make a positive difference to the lives of the people they care for.

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